For the Nationals, It All Starts Monday Against the Mets


Mar 15, 2014; Jupiter, FL, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher

Stephen Strasburg

(37) delivers a pitch against the Miami Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

After six long offseason months, it’s time for the Washington Nationals to put all of this winter’s hard work on the field for the regular season. The team will play one final exhibition game tomorrow afternoon against the Detroit Tigers at Nationals Park, before heading to New York for opening day Monday afternoon against the Mets.

Stephen Strasburg will make his third consecutive opening day start for the Nationals as he tries to lead his team to a 1-0 start. The Mets will counter with right-hander Dillon Gee who was one of their best pitchers last season. Monday’s game will air live on MASN 2 and first pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. EST.

The Nationals will get their first off day of the season Tuesday, before resuming their series against the Mets with their first night game on Wednesday. Left-hander Gio Gonzalez will get the start for the Nationals and first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on MASN 2. The Mets have yet to announce who will take the mound for the final two games of the season.

Following Gonzalez will be last year’s 19-game winner Jordan Zimmermann, who will wrap up the series against the Mets Thursday at 1:10 p.m. EST.

This will be a very important series for the Nationals as they will return to Washington to face the Atlanta Braves Friday April 4. While the Mets are never an easy team to beat for the Nationals, they will likely pose less of a threat than the Braves will and it is important to leave New York with at least a couple of wins. Playing the Braves is hard enough and starting the series with a losing record would only make things harder for the Nationals.

But there is no reason to believe the Nationals will struggle against the Mets, as Washington’s ‘big three’ of Strasburg, Gonzalez and Zimmermann is substantially stronger than any set of pitchers the Mets can send to the mound. That being said, the Nationals are notorious for struggling against the Mets so they must treat each game as if the Mets were the favorites to win.

I hope you all enjoyed the offseason, or at least tried to enjoy it. Fortunately for us, it’s over. And for a Nationals team that has high hopes for the 2014 season, it all starts this Monday.